Birmingham City 0-0 Wigan Athletic: Report
Birmingham created a slice of club history but Cameron Jerome's failings in front of goal meant they had to settle for a goalless draw against Wigan at St Andrew's.
Alex McLeish's side equalled City's best top flight unbeaten home run of 18 games stretching back exactly 12 months. But Jerome, last season's leading scorer with 11 goals, missed two golden first-half chances to earn his side all three points.
It was a below-par performance from the home side who have won only two of their last 16 Barclays Premier League games. McLeish is fully aware that he is still searching for the right combination in the final third of the pitch.
Jerome can never be faulted for work-rate and commitment but lacks the finesse in the box of a top performer. City struggled to impose themselves on the Latics, who followed up their win at Tottenham with a solid performance.
Wigan winger Charles N'Zogbia was booed everytime he touched the ball by the home fans after the 11th-hour collapse of his move to Blues last month. But he showed enough skill and touches to demonstrate why McLeish had agreed a #9million fee for his services. B
irmingham made a positive start and came close to taking the lead after three minutes. Wigan defender Steve Gohouri's attempted headed clearance from Sebastian Larsson's cross dropped invitingly to Alexander Hleb 12 yards out and his volley flew only a couple of feet wide.
N'Zogbia looked lively and one run and cross teed up a chance for Hugo Rodallega 15 yards out but Blues defender Scott Dann made a great block on the shot.
The former Newcastle player then forced City goalkeeper Ben Foster to turn a rising 20-yard drive over the bar after a mistake by Lee Bowyer had led to the opening.
Jerome then missed a good chance to break the deadlock after 26 minutes. Larsson again showed skill to get to the byline before sending over a deep cross, but Jerome failed to make full contact on his close-range header which flew wide.
Johnson and Rodallega were both booked after squaring up to each other on the edge of the Birmingham box and Ronnie Stam was booked by referee Mark Clattenburg for bringing down Craig Gardner in full flight.
Blues ended the opening half on a high and Gohouri was also booked for a challenge on the edge of the Wigan box on Jerome.
Al Habsi parried away Larsson's inswinging free-kick and then reacted quickly to block the follow-up effort from Jerome from two yards out but the striker should have scored. Birmingham seemed off the pace but still continued to create the best chances.
Liam Ridgewell headed wide from an inswinging Larsson free-kick when unmarked. Foster comfortably saved a low effort from N'Zogbia at the end of a swift counter-attack by the Latics.
Wigan made their first change after 59 minutes with Stam replaced by Di Santo. McLeish responded by making a double substitution with Bowyer and Hleb making way for Nikola Zigic and Jean Beausejour. Dann was booked for a touch-line challenge on Di Santo as the game entered the final 20 minutes.
Al Habsi came quickly off his line to save at the feet of Jerome after Larsson supplied the through ball. Di Santo tried to beat Foster with a shot via the outside of his right boot but the former Manchester United goalkeeper was able to save to his right.
Gardner was sent off in the final minute for a two-footed lunge on Di Santo and now faces a three-game ban.
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